Nation offers its last salute

KATHMANDU: Thousands of people paid their last tributes to late Nepali Congress President and former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

They did not hunger or thirst nor did the scorching heat of the sun trouble them for they had enormous patience to stay in a queue under the sun for hours to pay their last respects to their late leader.

The scene today at the Dasharath Stadium was undoubtedly an example of true devotion, respect and love.

Interestingly, people above 70 years of age and children below 10 also paid tributes from the core of their hearts to the late statesman. Meanwhile, thousands of NC cadres and well-wishers came to Kathmandu from various districts across the nation to pay homage to late Koirala.

Gita Nath Dhungana, 71, from Udaypur district, took a bus to Kathmandu immediately after hearing the news of Koirala. Talking to The Himalayan Times with tearful eyes, Dhungana said, “Late Koirala was truly a leader of farmers and workers who used to inquire even the tiny issues of our family such as earning, number of family, land and other things.”

He added that he was actively involved with Nepali Congress since 2024 BS. He said, “I got many opportunities to interact with him, he was a towering personality but he was simple and like normal people. I met him in 2039 BS for the first time.”

According to him, Koirala was a source of inspiration for many farmers.

Bibek Karki, 10, from Lalitpur, who had come with his father, does not know much about late Koirala, but he claimed that he knows about Koirala’s role in the peace process. Karki said, “He played an active role to bring the Maoist to talks and we children could live in peaceful but god took him away.”

Sita Ram Adhikari, 71, from Makwanpur district, arrived at Kathmandu at noon and went to Dasharath Stadium to pay last tribute to late Koirala.

He said, “We lost a guardian; guardian of farmers, workers and students. I think we will not get such a leader in future. “I am worried that his absence may scuttle peace and the constitution-drafting processes,” he added.

Tanka Prasad Silwal, 67, from Nuwakot district, who is a farmer by profession, opined Koirala’s demise has created a big political vacuum in the country. He said,” I am a farmer of a village but had an emotional attachment with late Koirala.”

He hoped other leaders will work together to realise Koirala’s dream. The dream of constitution-drafting and logical end to the peace process, he added.

Krishan Bahadur Rana, 69, from Kapan in Kathmandu also shared similar feeling and expressed his deep grief.